January 19, 2018

At the Winter Walk Café...


... it's not as bleak as it looks.

May I encourage you to shop Amazon through the Althouse Portal.

Dylan Farrow gives an emotional interview to "CBS This Morning."

Here's the transcript. Here's Woody Allen's response.

It's an old story made new by the "Time's Up" movement in Hollywood and Farrow's going on camera (asking us to see and believe).
KING: Are you angry with the people, with the celebrities that are starring in his movies, that hold him in high regard and continue to compliment him?

FARROW: I'm not angry with them. I hope that, you know, especially since so many of them have been vocal advocates of this Me Too and Time's Up movement that, um, they can acknowledge their complicity and maybe hold themselves accountable to how they have perpetuated this culture of – of silence in their industry.

After "Fire and Fury" and the "shithole" smear, Trump isn't any less popular than before.

He seems to be even a little more popular:

But, who knows?, maybe the possibility that he had sex with a porn star 12 years ago or the Senators shutting down the government over DACA will turn people against him.

"You could see the television from the little dining room table and he was watching Shark Week and he was watching a special about the U.S.S. something and it sank and it was like the worst shark attack in history."

"He is obsessed with sharks. Terrified of sharks. He was like, 'I donate to all these charities and I would never donate to any charity that helps sharks. I hope all the sharks die' He was like riveted. He was like obsessed. It’s so strange, I know.... So we finished dinner and we moved to the sofa so he could get a better view of Shark Week.... He kept rubbing my leg and was like, 'You know, you’re so beautiful. I love your little nose, it’s like a little beet.' I go, 'Did you say a beet? Like, what the f---?' I started giving him a hard time about it. And he goes, 'No, no, no, no! It’s majestic. It’s a very smart nose, like an eagle.'"

From "Stormy Daniels' Explosive Full Interview on Donald Trump Affair: 'I Can Describe His Junk Perfectly' (EXCLUSIVE)" (In Touch).

The U.S.S. something... That is the U.S.S. Indianapolis, sunk by Japanese torpedoes in 1945, as described here (BBC):
"We were sunk at midnight, I saw [shark] the first morning after daylight. They were big. Some of them I swear were 15ft long," remembers [one survivor Loel Dean] Cox. "They were continually there, mostly feeding off the dead bodies. Thank goodness, there were lots of dead people floating in the area... We were losing three or four each night and day.... You were constantly in fear because you'd see 'em all the time. Every few minutes you'd see their fins - a dozen to two dozen fins in the water.  They would come up and bump you. I was bumped a few times - you never know when they are going to attack you.... In that clear water you could see the sharks circling. Then every now and then, like lightning, one would come straight up and take a sailor and take him straight down. One came up and took the sailor next to me. It was just somebody screaming, yelling or getting bit."
There were 1,200 men on the ship, and 317 survived.

"[My pussy hat] covers our John Wayne bust in our front hallway. I feel ever more depressed and angry when I look at it."

"Every day I see it and think of my granddaughters, who also marched, and their future in this America, where Donald Trump is truly destroying all we stand for. I like the color though."

From "The Second Lives of Pussy Hats/One year later, these Women’s March symbols have found new purpose as stuffed toys and talismans (when they’re not being worn, that is)." (NYT).

Attempted coinage fails, as I discover "mactation" is an existing (though rare) word.

For some reason, we were discussing the topic of male lactation.

Anyway, "mactation" is "The action of killing, esp. the slaughtering of a sacrificial victim" (OED). To go back to 1563: "The Lambe of God..of whose mactation Isayas fore prophecieth." And in the 20th century, there's T.S. Eliot: "If the mactations, immolations, oblations, impetrations, Are now observed."

1965 and 1967 — a comparison.

"Do you think racial stereotypes are false? Are you sure? I’m not asking if you’re sure whether or not the stereotypes are false..."

"... but if you’re sure whether or not you think that they are. That might seem like a strange question. We all know what we think, don’t we?... [W]e might be sincerely mistaken about our own beliefs.... Studies show that people who sincerely say that racial stereotypes are false often continue to behave as if they are true when not paying attention to what they are doing.... People think that the stereotypes are true but also that it is not acceptable to admit this and therefore say they are false. Moreover, they say this to themselves too, in inner speech, and mistakenly interpret themselves as believing it. They are hypocrites but not conscious hypocrites. Maybe we all are...."

From "Whatever You Think, You Don’t Necessarily Know Your Own Mind" by Keith Frankish (Big Think).

“The #Metoo movement... and the highly visible cases that are similar to Cosby (powerful men, similar patterns of behavior, multiple victims) make the environment one that is more supportive of the prosecution’s case."

Said Cornell Law School professor Valerie Hans, quoted in "Will the #MeToo Moment Shape the Cosby Case?" (NYT).

There has long been a debate on just how much judges are, or should be, swayed by public opinion. Justice Stephen G. Breyer of the United States Supreme Court said that listening to public opinion is “a road to perdition” for judges.

“We’re not there to be popular,” he added in a video that was posted on a public policy website, bigthink.com “We’re not there to decide according to the majority; we’re not there to decide according to what the press is going to write.”

Others, such as the Harvard law professor Michael Klarman have argued that certain landmark rulings like Brown v. Board of Education would never have been possible if judges had not been reflecting shifting social mores.

"A.D.H.D. prescription rates increased... by 700 percent among women aged 25 to 29, and by 560 percent among women aged 30 to 34."

The NYT reports (on the period between 2003 and 2015).
Between 3 percent and 6 percent of adult women in various age groups got these prescriptions in 2015, the researchers found, compared with 1 percent or less in 2003. The rate rose among women ages 20 to 24, for example, to 5.5 percent in 2015 from 1 percent in 2003....

Recent changes in diagnostic guidelines have extended the criteria to adults who have experienced inattentiveness and restlessness since childhood.... But many also acknowledge that these drugs have wide appeal as performance-enhancers: among students as study aids, and among adults seeking an edge in their work.

Moira Donegan, the young woman who put the "Shitty Media Men" spreadsheet on line.

"I was watching the spreadsheet fill up. It became clear to me that a problem I had already understood as widespread was in fact, much, much broader."
DONEGAN: “So much of the conversation after the spreadsheet was made public was about the methodology of the spreadsheet, and sort of the tactics that anonymous women were using to try and keep each other safe. People were more worried about a hypothetical man whose reputation might be damaged than real women who were really raped.”

TIEFENTHÄLER: “It’s not a hypothetical man, right? There were men who were named on this who had to suffer repercussions in their real life.”

DONEGAN: “Some companies decided to conduct investigations. Not all, but some of them did result in men leaving their jobs or being fired, because they were found to have committed wrongdoing. I think it’s their responsibility that they acted that way.”

The Frozen Butt Hang — winter hammock camping in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a long article (with some good pictures) about this annual event. Patterned after a Minnesota event, it was started by Nick Gordon, who "vowed to start my own in Wisconsin." It's been as cold as -41° with snow as deep as 3 feet.
"I think winter camping is a lot more social" than summer camping, Gordon said. "There's so much communal time around the fire."

Larson removed a Dutch oven from its perch hanging above the fire and offered up its contents — a cheesy mix of eggs, sausage and potatoes — to the group. Someone else melted water from a frozen jug. Another added 3-foot-logs to the long fire.

This is how they spend most of the day — "we stand around and eat," someone joked. Gordon said he'll consume 6,000 calories a day when camping in the winter....
Is it all men? The Sentinel calls it "a male-heavy brigade, many with hearty beards," ah, but here, it quotes a woman, "Karla with a K":
"I used to make fun of (Nick) for hammock camping... until I tried it one time. It was 19 degrees and it sleeted that night, and I was so warm...."

"I would say, having been called fake news myself, that the President of the United States is the king of fake news. He is the king of fake news."

"He said Barack Obama was not born in this country. He said Mexican are rapists and criminals. He has said many things. He has said he lost the election because undocumented people voted by the millions. He said that he had the largest inauguration crowd of all time. The list goes on and on."

Said Jim Acosta at a free-press forum at the Newseum on Wednesday night, which turned out also to be the night President Trump announced his "Fake News Awards" on the RNC website.

Now, I see (looking at my email this morning) that Trump is taking a vote (at his campaign website) asking people to vote for "KING OF FAKE NEWS of 2017." Is this in direct response to Acosta — a kind of I'm not the king, you're the king?

The options on the ballot are ABC, NYT, Washington Post, etc. — whole news organizations, not human individuals, so I don't think the term "king" can be flipped back at the media very well. And a king is the head of a government. The press is a counterbalance to government. The press only works by saying things that the people consume and react to. The safeguards are built-in. A king has power by way of a hereditary position and by his own will operates levers of power. No one is King of the News or the Fake News... unless you just mean "king" in the weak sense, as in Elvis is the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

Here's the point in the post where I'm triggered to look up "king" in the OED. The 4th meaning of the word is "A male person or being whose authority or pre-eminence is comparable to that of a king." Thus, God has long been called the "King of Heaven" or the "King of Glory" (which seems like a step down for God).

Then you get things like: "He is kynge of dronkardes and of dronkenes" (1509), "He's the king o' gude fellows, and wale of auld men" (1793 R. Burns), and "A never before assembled album of original RCA recordings of the King of Rock 'n' Roll—Elvis Presley" (1981 Weekly World News advertisement.)

There's the industrial/commercial use. In the 19th century, various magnates were called "cotton king," "fur king," "railway king," and these days, we're most likely to say "drug king." That makes me think of "drug czar," an informal term for an American government official in charge of drug control. A "czar" is the same thing as a "king," but it sounds foreign and funny. We don't call anyone in American government "king" unless, like Jim Acosta, we mean to insult him. We have a history with that term...

January 18, 2018

At the Snow Bike Café...


... put on your electric boots and ride.

Don't have any safety yellow bike wear thermo overshoes? Get them on Amazon, here. And get whatever else you want on Amazon using the Althouse Portal. You know, there actually is something called "electric boots." It's not just a stray phrase from "Bennie and the Jets." Check it out: here.

Writing fast or slow.

Robert A. Caro, in a new interview in the New York Review of Books:
My first three or four drafts are handwritten on legal pads. For later drafts, I use a typewriter. I write by hand to slow myself down. People don’t believe this about me: I’m a very fast writer, but I want to write slowly.

When I was a student at Princeton. I took a creative writing course with the literary critic R.P. Blackmur. Every two weeks, I’d give him a short story I’d produced usually at the last minute. At the end of the semester, he said some complimentary words about my writing, and then added, “Mr. Caro, one thing is going to keep you from achieving what you want—you think with your fingers.”

Later, in the early 1960s when I was at Newsday, my speed was a plus. But when I started rewriting The Power Broker, I realized I wasn’t thinking deeply enough. I said, “You have to slow yourself down.” That’s when I remembered Blackmur’s admonition and started drafting by hand, which slows me down.

"the things you think you love — like a pair of Gucci booties — can't reciprocate. That relationship is one-sided."

Writes Mary Carlomagno, a de-cluttering expert, quoted in a WaPo article that talks about many techniques, but has one I haven't see before:
Take a photo. Carlomagno likes the idea of taking a photo to keep ("that leather pencil skirt that you were only able to wear once, after you had food poisoning in 1994") and letting the object go. This solution was a revelation for me when it came to gifts and paper memorabilia — a way to preserve programs from a wedding or an aunt's teacup without having to find a place for them.
The love for things is unreciprocated, so treat them like people who don't love you, whom you may still love. Keep a photograph:

"After a brief moment of existential crisis, Google’s question 'Is your portrait in a museum?' has the potential to bring people closer to great works of art."

"After all, I was linked to amazing individuals who sat for accomplished artists housed in major museums around the world. But is it really that effective? A quick review of social media confirms that the Twitterverse is weighing in on their art historical doppelgängers. Alas, the comments of the Twitter hive mind are rather superficial...."

From "Here’s My Problem With the Google Arts & Culture Face-Matching App" (Smithsonian).

What's up with the empty shelves at Whole Foods

Business Insider investigates:
  • Whole Foods employees say stores are suffering from food shortages because of a newly implemented inventory-management system called order-to-shelf, or OTS.
  • Whole Foods says the system reduces unnecessary inventory, lowers costs, and frees up employees to focus on customer service.
  • Employees acknowledge that less food is spoiling in storage rooms, but they describe OTS as a "militaristic" system that crushes morale and leads to many items being out of stock.
  • "Last week, we ran out of onions and potatoes twice," an employee of a Brooklyn Whole Foods store said. "Entire aisles are empty at times."
  • "It has for weeks had empty shelves, and I shop there twice a week," one customer told Business Insider. "The prepared-food section is not refreshed, and food looks stale."
ADDED: The Madison Whole Foods is nowhere nearly as bad as what you see in the photographs at the link, but there are gaps in the shelves, giving an impression of deficiency where once we saw abundance. It makes a big psychological difference! The real-world store is theater, and it's not at all like a website.

"The Times editorial board has been sharply critical of the Trump presidency, on grounds of policy and personal conduct."

"Not all readers have been persuaded. In the spirit of open debate, and in hopes of helping readers who agree with us better understand the views of those who don’t, we wanted to let Mr. Trump’s supporters make their best case for him as the first year of his presidency approaches its close. Tomorrow we’ll present some letters from readers who voted for Mr. Trump but are now disillusioned, and from those reacting to today’s letters and our decision to provide Trump voters this platform."

Wrote the NYT editors yesterday, so today's the day for the page full of pro-Trump letters.

That's a big step away from the Don't-Normalize-Him narrative of a year ago.

ADDED: A few excerpts, each from different letters:

"If I wanted a scripted smooth talker for president, I’d have voted for someone else. An unscripted Mr. Trump feels more authentic to me, and I still don’t see him as a politician. If the election were held again today, I would 100 percent vote for him again."

"Who knew that all it would take to make progress was vision, chutzpah and some testosterone?"

"I loved George W. Bush, but he failed on policy over and over again. If it takes putting up with Mr. Trump’s brash ways to see things get done, that is a deal I’m willing to accept. To be honest, I’m not sure he would have accomplished what he has so far without being an unrelenting public bully."

"As a child of the ’60s I admire his iconoclastic nature, optimism and unapologetic humanity. When asked during the campaign about his truthfulness, he replied that maybe he is too truthful."

"I have a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s and master’s from Harvard; I’m a former hedge fund trader and now an academic.... [Trump] has turned a fragile nation 'anti-fragile' (the scholar Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s term). Before Mr. Trump, we were scared of any volatility. Oh no, ISIS! Oh no, banks! The more chaos there was, the worse we were. Now volatility is our friend. The more chaos, the better! Entrepreneurship up. Optimism up. Good old American problem solving is back! You know who loves change? Capitalists. Mr. Trump has led us on that spiritual exodus."

"Trump’s Border Wall Prototypes Are Minimalist Art — and Should Be a National Monument."

NY Magazine.